161-n: THE DARK SIDES OF CYCLING

Cycling at a high level is a sport that demands the extreme of the riders. The physical stress is not the only factor that is tremendously heavy. Two hundred days from home, living in hotels and traveling from race to race, such is the rather monotonous life of a professional cyclist. And all this time the rider must ensure that he is in top condition. That is a condition to be able to meet the high expectations of the team management and sponsors. Because every rider knows he is paid at the end of the season for his performance. And  being not good enough soon means the end of his contract. The pressure to perform is consequently huge.

Besides the mental pressure that a lot of riders are not able to handle  with all its consequences the recurring exhausting races and training stages are an attack on body and mind. By those exhausting races, which are often held under appalling weather conditions, many riders gets sick  a few times during the season  which always means a drop in performance.  To get back in shape after illness is always difficult, especially when the impatient team leader has too little patience.

THIS IS ALSO CYCLING:
LOPEZ 5 MONTHS OUT OF COMPETITION WITH BROKEN SHIN

November 5, 2016
Miguel Angel Lopez

Miguel Ángel López crashed harshly on Thursday during a training ride. The 22-year-old Colombian broke his shin. He can now expect a long rehabilitation. The recovery will take twenty weeks. López therefore misses the preparation for the upcoming season.

The Astana rider can look back on a year of highs and lows. In June he won the final general classification in the Tour of Switzerland. Lopez would consequently start as team leader of the Tour of Spain, but he had to give up after six days because of a hard fall. The Colombian came back astonishingly at the end of the season again, with a victory in Milan-Turin, but now again he has setback.

 In addition to the increased chance of becoming ill each rider knows that he will fall about 3 to 5 times every year. In that sense, road cycling and racing is a very dangerous and risky sport. First of all training rides, and especially in Thailand, are always a risky advenbture because of the very poor condition of the roads. But also the behavior and mentality of the car drivers compared to the extremely vulnerable cyclists are appalling.

With clockwork regularity you hear on radio or TV that again and again  one or more cyclists are hit by drunken or drugs addicted  car drivers or truck drivers who were blinded by the sun.
But even during races, if the traffic is kept at a distance, cycling can be very dangerous and   often there are crashes some of which go hand in hand with serious injury.

SUMMARY

  • Exhaustive training and competition are an assault on the mental toughness and physical resilience of the cyclist.
  • In addition to disease injuries resulting from falls are a common cause of a short or long race break for pro cyclists. Cycling is a very dangerous sport.
  • Illnesses and injuries from crashes are obstacles faced by each rider.
  • Many riders faced serious psychological problems during their careers. The number of pro cyclists committing suicide is quite substantial.

Sometimes words fall short and pictures speak for themselves.

ROADS IN THAILAND

Bananas on the road                                                         Take your bath in a pothole
(Left) After many motorcycle accidents,  76 year old German Falang, tries to fix the huge potholes in front of his house. 
(Right) Road in Holland.
Potholes in Thailand

DEADLY CYCLING ACCIDENTS

Wouter Weylandt
Fabian Casartelli

BEARS ON THE ROAD

DAILY RACE ACCIDENTS AND TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

CYCLING IS SUFFERING

SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST

Every year two out of every 100,000 athletes between 12 and 35 die because of a sudden cardiac arrest. That is 3 times as many as in people who do not sport.

CYCLISTS WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE